Survey says half of Americans use swimming pools as communal bathtubs

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(ABC NEWS) —  G-r-o-s-s.

A new survey finds more than half of Americans (51 percent) use swimming pools as a communal bathtub– either swimming as a substitute for showering or using the pool to rinse off after exercise or yardwork. And, still, Americans knowingly make pools dirty despite nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents saying pool chemicals do not eliminate the need to shower before swimming.

“When dirt, sweat, personal care products, and other things on our bodies react with chlorine, there is less chlorine available to kill germs,” said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council. “Rinsing off for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt, sweat, or anything else on your body.”

The survey revealed 40 percent of Americans admit they have peed in the pool as an adult. Peeing in the pool reacts with chlorine and reduces the amount of chlorine available to kill germs.

“The bottom line is: Don’t pee in the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming program. “Swimming is a great way to be physically active and not peeing in the pool is a key healthy swimming step.”

Almost one-fourth of Americans said they would go in a swimming pool within one hour of having diarrhea and almost half report never showering before swimming according to the survey.

So, yeah, keep these handy facts in mind when heading to the pool for Memorial Day.

“Pools are great places to have fun with friends and family,” said Jim Mock, Interim Executive Director of the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance. “A trained pool operator can get the mix of pool chemicals healthy and safe, and swimmers can help keep it right by swimming healthy.”

Health officials recommend checking inspection scores at the swimming venue or online before going to the pool. The Water Quality & Health Council has compiled a growing list of local and state health departments that provide online access to swimming pool inspection reports.

Courtney Terlecki

Courtney Terlecki

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